Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Catalog Data

Cast iron, paint
Overall: 53 × 32 in. (134.6 × 81.3 cm)
Dishes: 6 15/16 in. (17.6 cm)
Gothic Revival
Plant stands
ca. 1850
Victorian (1837-1901)
Cast-iron plant stand with eleven arms and top dish painted black. The base is ornate and low to the ground with four feet. It supports a central pole, terminating in dish. Similar to the upper most dish, the cups at the end of each arm are meant to hold a small, potted plant. There are eleven arms attached to the pole that could move vertically up the post and rotate around the central axis. The rings for each arm bracket rest directly upon the ring below it. This allowed the gardener to organize the plants so that each would have access to light, while taking up the least room.
Label Text:
The Victorian love of nature and display were combined with the plant stand. Both decorative and storage space, plant stands displayed botanical specimens both in and out of doors in the nineteenth century. They came in a variety of sizes and shapes that might include multiple tiers, elaborate structures, decorative features, or separate surfaces for each plant or flower. Plants stands were often placed on porches and verandahs, where they provided transition between house and garden. These stands were also found throughout the home, bringing nature indoors and adding color and scents to the room. They might be the focal point, placed in corners, or other areas in need of visual interest. Fragrant varieties of flowers and potted plants, such as palms, were popular choices for plant stands in the nineteenth century. Flowers and greenery were often mixed together on its shelves, either grown in pots on saucers or displayed in decorative vases. The stands and their plants could be rented from the florist or nursery for special occasions. In addition to their decorative appeal, they were also an important tool for the gardener. Plant stands served as home for the plants more susceptible to frost and weather that were brought in to a winter garden in the home, conservatory, greenhouse, or other outbuildings.
cast iron  Search this
plant stands  Search this
stands (support furniture)  Search this
Garden ornaments and furniture  Search this
gardening  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian Gardens, Horticultural Artifacts Collection.
Accession number:
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Data Source:
Smithsonian Gardens